More about S&S

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By Dancing Earth and Audio Pharmacy Prescriptions

On October 24, 2015, in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Dancing Earth will team up with Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective to bring you about the Seeds & Soul Indigenous Cultural Exchange & Festival. The free festival will provide a creative, inclusive and welcoming environment where art, dance, spoken word, and music will be modeled as tools for community resilience and social change to raise awareness about issues, such as environmental sustainability, which affect Native and non-native peoples.

SEEDS & SOUL is an indigenous/women-led festival harnessing the power of the ARTS and CULTURAL EXCHANGES to BRIDGE Bay Area indigenous communities & allies

The festival will help celebrate the diversity of indigenous identities, provide a platform for critical dialogue, build unity and alliance among communities, and strengthen resilience in these times of rapid social and environmental change. We hope to enliven and indigenize the outdoor and indoor spaces, and animate the area with indigenous intention rooted in honoring the original peoples of the San Francisco Bay Area. We will incorporate tribal philosophies about relationships and treaty-making as examples of reciprocity and responsibility in caring for (not just inhabiting and using) place.

The festival, scheduled for the day between the Annual Indigenous People’s Day Pow-Wow in Berkeley and the Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz, will feature local independent musicians, DJs and performers, as well as indigenous arts and community vendors. Audiopharmacy Prescriptions will also create an organic-interactive art installation based on the themes of the festival.

Seeds & Soul would like to invite indigenous culture-carriers, as well as social justice and environmental activists, to share their developed responses to environmental catastrophes. Those strategies can serve as models for the communities working in the arts, health and wellness, and the food industry. For us, decolonization is inseparable from the critical work of cultural and societal change, healing, and the seeding of hope and renewal in our journey towards empowered indigeneity.

Background
After The Fort Mason Center Presents, Performance Series rejected our proposal earlier this year, we decided to produce the festival ourselves. Empowered by communities who believe in this project and supported by those who have already been working at the forefront of this movement, we’ve raised $15,775 through Hatchfund.org donations. The festival’s location has yet to be announced. Desired locations include Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt Park in Oakland.

We want to center activities that invite active participant engagement in a range of activities, including dance, movement, music, and spoken word. In addition, it will build upon previous panels, performances, and workshops given by Dancing Earth, Audiopharmacy Prescriptions, and other community-based organizations. We will facilitate respectful cultural knowledge and history exchanges to strengthen bridges among indigenous peoples of the San Francisco Bay Area and non-natives. This is an invitation to all those who are journeying to understand and overcome the violence that colonization continues to have on the psyche and spirit of indigenous peoples. All of the festival activities will aim to deepen our connectedness to ourselves, each other, our ancestors, and to Mama Earth, that’s by the people and for the people.

Significance of its Date
The festival is scheduled to happen on the day following Berkeley’s annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Pow Wow, and the day prior to the yearly Indigenous Peoples’ Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz. Founded in 1992 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an alternative to Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated throughout the U.S. and raises awareness about Native peoples’ histories, cultures, and traditions. The holiday highlights Native peoples’ resilience and resistance, which has been voiced in various ways, including art, activism and performance. October, which is also Filipino American History and Heritage Month, is a lively month for celebrating the rich cultural diversity in the U.S.

Collaborators, Organizers and Their Intention
Seeds & Soul is organized and led by a group of inspired of Indigenous women (and allies), dedicated and courageous everyday people whose paths have crossed to support indigenous cultures and cultivate feminine wisdom: Rulan Tangen, founding artistic director of Dancing Earth Creations; Joana “love/speak” Cruz, operations manager of the Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective; and Javier Fresquez, Dancing Earth company member and admin.

We believe these to be pivotal elements for revolutionary community resilience and social change. The Indigenous Women’s leadership of Dancing Earth and Audiopharmacy Prescriptions are brought together by:

  • mutual love and respect for each other as women, sisters, and leaders within our communities. We recognize that within this multi-heritage spectrum, we each have lives, practices, and social positions that range from “traditional” to “progressive/modern.” As we come together to produce and, finally, experience this festival, we will consciously enact, hold space, and reflect upon a wide range of ideas surrounding female leadership, roles, and strengths.
  • the desire to raise the level of consciousness and collective action around taking care of our Mother Earth, her precious resources and her peoples.
  • the power of the arts to inspire and elicit transformative change and critical practices (abstract thinking, critical analysis, focus, collaboration, creativity, and accountability) to improve our daily lives and strengthen our communities.
  • producing creative works and events that are focused on being useful to indigenous people; although, they will be accessible and useful to non-Native people as well.

Potential community collaborators on the festival include: American Indian Contemporary Arts, Bangka Journey Project (Pomo/Pilipino Cultural Allies), Rooted in Community, Northern California Permaculture Convergence, Dance Zone of Cupertino, SNAG: Seventh Native American Generation, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, Bay Localize, Access Via Exposure, Capoeira Ijexa, Bissap Baobab Village, The N.E.S.T. of Forestville, Bela Alma Dance Collective, Eyes Opened Media + Design and ReimagineRP&E.

Thank You
We are deeply humbled by the amount of support that we received throughout this crowdfunding campaign from people all over the nation — from all over California to New Mexico, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Seattle, Arizona, DC, Oregon, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Vermont, Florida, Colorado, and even all the way from Canada, the UK and Fiji!

Give
If you’d like to donate, please give directly to the Dancing Earth Paypal. Please indicate “SEED & SOUL DONATION,” your name, contact info, and the amount you are offering.

However, there are many ways to engage and contribute! We greatly appreciate support in the form of service and in-kind donations, volunteering, media editing, office supplies, PR and Marketing, transportation, tech support, artistic supplies (incl. fabric for costuming), sewing skills, heirloom seeds, a bicycle-powered sound system, and creative gifts from inventive types. “By The People” means you can join the collaboration! We imagine a fluid and horizontal leadership structure for this festival, with indigenous women (and conscious allies) at the core, a diverse steering committee, as well as community leaders and ambassadors bringing a wide spectrum of communities to sit at the collaborating circle.

If you or your organization is interested in learning more about how to collaborate with us, email us at: seedsandsoul@gmail.com. For more information, visit facebook.com/seedsandsoulfestival. Dancing Earth spins, stomps, and spirals into life on the world’s dancing grounds as a collective of intertribal indigenous dance artists, under the leadership of internationally respected choreographer Rulan Tangen. Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective is an international art collective and live world hip-hop ensemble that has been making community-minded art and music together since 1994.

Related Stories
Interview with Joana Cruz, Seeds & Soul Organizer, in Race, Poverty & the Environment
Seeds & Soul Project on Hatchfund.org

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